UK pharmacist who illegally sold drugs sentenced in court

Jasper Ojela, a registered pharmacist who admitted to supplying the black market with drugs including cancer medications, has been given a 28-month prison sentence.

A registered pharmacist convicted of illegally supplying drugs on the UK black market has received a 28-month prison sentence.

An investigation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found that Jasper Ojela, the owner of a pharmacist in Dudley, unlawfully distributed opiate painkillers, tranquillisers and cancer medications. According to the MHRA, the drugs have an estimated worth of £280,490.

The inspection began after A1 Pharma, a pharmaceutical wholesaler, reported during an audit that staff found the sale of medicines classified as ‘controlled drugs’ had not been recorded as such within the company’s management system. This promoted the MHRA to suspect the pharmaceutical products had been purchased by criminal groups. According to the regulatory body, these groups illegally diverted medicines from the regulated supply chain by cloning the identity of genuine pharmaceutical companies located overseas and licensed pharmacies.

Ojela was revealed to be a part of this scheme when inspectors noticed his pharmacy was purchasing large quantities of controlled drugs including Diazepam, Zolpidem and Zopiclone. When interviewed by the police, he admitted purchasing the drugs to divert products on to the black market.

From February to September 2016, Ojela illegally supplied over 200,000 doses of medications to criminal associates, bought from two different wholesalers.

In addition to the prosecution and prison sentence, the MHRA is also taking court action against Ojela, as well as the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Mark Jackson, MHRA Head of Enforcement, said: “It is a serious criminal offence to sell controlled drugs which are also prescription only medicines without a prescription. We work relentlessly with regulatory and law enforcement colleagues to identify and prosecute those involved. Those who sell medicines illegally are exploiting vulnerable people and have no regard for their health. Prescription-only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision.”